How and Why You Should Get to Know Your Customers

25th July 2019 | 3 min read

How and Why You Should Get to Know Your Customers

We are now living in the Age of the Customer, a period that is defined by the empowerment of the customer and the significant impact this inevitably has on business.

The Age of the Customer was coined by research company Forrester back in 2011 and is very much a consequence of the digital revolution. Today’s customers can quickly access an enormous amount of information – they are able to research products, share knowledge and champion them. The customer is very much in the driving seat.

It’s a paradigm shift that Forrester predicted would define the next 20-year business cycle, during which time companies would have to adapt to a marketplace that’s far more customer-focused than before. Eight years later and it’s hard to disagree with Forrester’s forecast.

Arguably, it’s always been important to know your customer, but it’s now vital to understand your customers on a deep, personal level. After all, an empowered customer isn’t a customer you can take for granted. A deeper understanding of your customer base gives you a better chance of catering to its needs and retaining its loyalty. These broad principles of customer experience and engagement apply to pretty much any business in the digital marketplace.

Customer Experience Is Everything

Delivering a positive customer experience (often referred to as CX) is key to the success of most businesses these days. As we’ve established, the customer’s experience must be prioritised, and this should go beyond what we’ve traditionally described as customer service.

When we think about customer experience, we should be considering something more holistic than merely the points in the experience when a customer receives help.

Customer experience is every touchpoint and engagement the customer has with your business. According to McKinsey & Company, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated , so there’s every reason to ensure that your customers are being treated well.

Start Thinking About Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is defined by Gartner as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” Which sounds like a good idea, but how do you go about ‘managing’ customer experience?

The first thing to take on board is that the process of improving your CX is unlikely to be a quick one. Good customer experience should infuse every area of your business – you need to ensure that listening to customers is a top priority across the business, which means tracking customer experience feedback effectively.

To do this, it’s necessary to decide on a customer experience KPI, so you can effectively understand what your customers are experiencing and start thinking about how to improve it. There are several well-established metrics including Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Churn Rate and Customer Effort Score (CES). We don’t have the space to go into the relative merits of these metrics, but it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and work out what best suits your business objectives.

Once you are able to effectively measure and track customer experiences and key customer journeys you can start prioritising these insights across your business and making customer experience part of how you and your staff think and function. By putting customer experience at the heart of your business, you’ll start to evolve a genuinely adaptive approach that truly foregrounds the customer’s voice.

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